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David Lissner
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7 places to find hamantaschen and other Purim goodies


Beginning at sunset, Saturday, Feb. 23, area Jews will celebrate the festival of Purim, perhaps the most boisterous on the Jewish calendar, a Mardi Gras-like celebration marked by costume parties and gift giving.

As with many Jewish holidays, Purim commemorates yet another occasion when somebody tried but didn’t quite succeed to wipe out the Jews — in this case a Persian tyrant in about 360 B.C. The festival includes reciting the Purim story, or Megillah, punctuated by noisemakers intended to drown out the name of the principal villain, Haman, whenever it occurs.

Purim is one of the few occasions on which the historically abstemious Jews get drunk. An ancient Talmudist, who — just coincidentally — also happened to be a vintner, directed that people should drink on Purim until they can no longer distinguish between “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordachai” (one of the good guys).

A charming Purim custom is the giving of mishloach manot, baskets of Purim goodies, to friends and family. Tradition holds that an appropriate gift contains at least two types of ready-to-eat foods, one of which is apt to be a traditional, triangular, filled pastry, hamantaschen, which means “Haman’s pockets.”

Here are a few Chicago places offering hamantashen and Purim gift baskets or suitable items for assembling your own.

  1. Tel-Aviv Kosher Bakery in West Rogers Park offers hamantaschen and a variety of other baked goods.

  2. Shalom Kosher Bakery in Buffalo Grove sells a hamantaschen and other baked goods suitable for gift giving.

  3. Kaufman’s Bagel & Delicatessen makes two kinds of hamantaschen as well as many other sweet and savory goodies.

  4. North Shore Kosher Bakery in West Rogers Park bakes up hamantaschen and other treats.

  5. Hungarian Kosher Foods in Skokie offers a wide selection of kosher candies, baked goods, wine and more.

  6. Zelda’s Sweet Shoppe in Skokie offers a wide selection of kosher Purim-themed candies and desserts, including the chocolate-dipped hamantaschen above, as well as prepared gift combos.

  7. Illinois Nut & Candy in Skokie sells gift baskets, Purim-themed chocolates and other kosher treats.